Friday, December 20, 2013

Canada v Bedford 2013 SCC 72

The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously struck down the country's major prostitution laws, saying that bans on street soliciting, brothels and people living off the avails of prostitution are arbitrary and create severe dangers for vulnerable women.

The rulings effect is suspended for one year to allow Parliament to respond. Quaere if charges will be laid in the interim?

On March 26, 2012 the Court of Appeal struck down the bawdy house provisions as unconstitutional and amended the Criminal Code provisions to clarify that the prohibition on living on the avails of prostitution (pimping) applies only to those who do so "in circumstances of exploitation." However, the Crown's appeal of the communicating for the purposes of prostitution was successful, as the Court of Appeal ruled this law does not violate the prostitutes' Section 7 rights and is a reasonable limit on the right to expression. This means street prostitution, where prostitutes solicit business in public, still remains effectively illegal.

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